There’s nothing like a fabulous, kick-ass heroine to compel you to read even the longest of book sagas. Personally, I return to tales of princesses, warriors, hunters, and other extraordinary girls, because the young women at their core move me, inspire me, help prove that girls are no longer passive damsels in distress but individuals of courage, substance and beauty.
Karou, created by award-winning author Laini Taylor, is my favorite new heroine of 2011. That’s saying a lot, because I’ve read more than 150 Young Adult books this year, many of which were unforgettable. But any book that starts “Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well” has to be worthy of that, and “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” exceeds the “great expectations” evoked by the legendary opening line. Here’s why we’re on Team Karou.
Who She Is: Karou is a blue-haired art student in Prague. She loves to draw and hang out with her best friend, marionette puppeteer Zuzana. When she’s not drawing or at her favorite café with her BFF, Karou is a tooth smuggler for her chimaera guardian, Brimstone.
Why She’s Awesome: This is a book of action but it’s really about the words — the gorgeously crafted words that draw in the reader on every single page. Karou’s inner monologue, her feelings are so heartbreakingly beautiful. She’s “missing” a part of herself, and most of the book is a journey of self discovery until the magnitude of her life, her destiny is laid out and she, as well as every reader, is blown away. To quote Karou’s tournament advocate Enna Isilee: “She isn’t perfect, but she’s a selfless, brilliant young woman who never shies away from even the most dangerous of missions if it means saving someone she loves.”
Who She Loves: Akiva. Oh my. Excuse me while I catch my breath. We will definitely have to write a Literary
Obsession Crush about the devastatingly beautiful angel. Any being who says the following is definitely “get the smelling salts” swoon worthy: “Your soul sings to mine. My soul is yours, and it always will be, in any world. No matter what happens. I need you to remember that I love you.”
She craved a presence beside her, solid. Fingertips light at the nape of her neck and a voice meeting hers in the dark. Someone who would wait with an umbrella to walk her home in the rain, and smile like sunshine when he saw her coming. Who would dance with her on her balcony, keep his promises and know her secrets, and make a tiny world wherever he was, with just her and his arms and his whisper and her trust.
Yearning for love made her feel like a cat that was always twining around ankles, meowing Pet me, pet me, look at me, love me.
Just then, lit only by the flicker of his wings,the sight of him was so..right somehow. He was right. It made no sense at all, but the feeling flooded through Karou
PLUS! Universal has just optioned the film rights to the book, and it clearly would make an amazing fantasy film. I hope whomever writes the script will do it justice. As a movie critic and entertainment writer, I’ll be all over the news about the production!
“No one defeats the daughter of smoke and bone!”
EDITED TO ADD: Karou won her match up in the the YA Sisterhood’s Tournament of Heroines! Thanks to all of you who voted for her!